hedonism


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Wikipedia.

hedonism

(hē`dənĭz'əm) [Gr.,=pleasure], the doctrine that holds that pleasure is the highest good. Ancient hedonism expressed itself in two ways: the cruder form was that proposed by AristippusAristippus
, c.435–c.360 B.C., Greek philosopher of Cyrene, first of the Cyrenaics. He held pleasure to be the highest good and virtue to be identical with the ability to enjoy.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and the early CyrenaicsCyrenaics
, one of the minor schools of Greek philosophy, flourishing in the late 4th and early 3d cent. B.C. Cyrenaic philosophy taught that present individual pleasure is the highest good.
..... Click the link for more information.
, who believed that pleasure was achieved by the complete gratification of all one's sensual desires; on the other hand, EpicurusEpicurus
, 341–270 B.C., Greek philosopher, b. Samos; son of an Athenian colonist. He claimed to be self-taught, although tradition states that he was schooled in the systems of Plato and Democritus by his father and various philosophers.
..... Click the link for more information.
 and his school, though accepting the primacy of pleasure, tended to equate it with the absence of pain and taught that it could best be attained through the rational control of one's desires. Ancient hedonism was egoistic; modern British hedonism, expressed first in 19th-century utilitarianismutilitarianism
, in ethics, the theory that the rightness or wrongness of an action is determined by its usefulness in bringing about the most happiness of all those affected by it.
..... Click the link for more information.
, is universalistic in that it is conceived in a social sense—"the greatest happiness for the greatest number."

Bibliography

See J. C. Gosling, Pleasure and Desire (1969).

Hedonism

 

an ethical position that asserts that pleasure is the highest good and the criterion for human behavior and that reduces moral demands in all their diversity to pleasure. Hedonism views the striving for pleasure as man’s basic motivating principle, inherent and predetermining all his actions; this makes hedonism a variant of anthropological naturalism. As a normative principle hedonism is the opposite of asceticism.

In ancient Greece one of the first exponents of ethical hedonism was the founder of the Cyrenaic school, Aristippus (early fourth century B.C.), who regarded as the highest good the attainment of sensory satisfaction. The ideas of hedonism were developed differently by Epicurus and his followers. Here they approached the principles of eudaemonism, insofar as the criterion for satisfaction was considered to be the absence of suffering and tranquillity of the spirit (ataraxia). Hedonist ideas were widely disseminated during the Renaissance and, later, in the ethical theories of the philosophes. In the struggle against the religious conception of morality T. Hobbes, J. Locke, P. Gassendi, and the French materialists of the 18th century frequently had recourse to the hedonist interpretation of ethics. The principles of hedonism achieved their fullest expression in the ethical theories of utilitarianism, which conceived of utility as pleasure or the absence of suffering (J. Bentham, J. S. Mill). Some modern bourgeois theoreticians also subscribe to ideas of hedonism, including G. Santayana (USA), M. Schlick (Austria), and D. Drake (USA). Marxism criticizes hedonism primarily for its naturalistic and ahistorical conception of man. It sees in hedonism an extremely simplified interpretation of the driving forces and motivations of human behavior, an interpretation that tends toward relativism and individualism.

REFERENCES

Marx, K., and F. Engels. Soch, 2nd ed. vol. 3, pp. 418-20.
“Pis’ma i fragmenty Epikura.” In the collection: Materialisty drevnei Gretsii. Moscow, 1955.
Gomperz, G. Zhizneponimanie grecheskikh filosofov i ideal vnutrennei svobody. St. Petersburg, 1912. (Translated from German.)
Helvétius, C. A. O cheloveke, ego umstvennykh sposobnostiakh i ego vospitanii. Moscow, 1938.
Holbach, P. H. “Sistema prirody ili o zakonakh mira fizicheskogo i mira dukhovnogo.” Izbr. proiz., vol. 1. Moscow, 1963. (Translated from French.)

T. A. KUZ’MINA

hedonism

[′hēd·ən‚iz·əm]
(psychology)
The doctrine that every act is motivated by the desire for pleasure or the aversion from pain and unpleasantness.

hedonism

Ethics
a. the doctrine that moral value can be defined in terms of pleasure
b. the doctrine that the pursuit of pleasure is the highest good
References in periodicals archive ?
After that, Hedonism II will select the top 20 women to move on to the bum parade finals.
From a wide array of water and land sports to the late night club, nightly themed parties and five different bars, Hedonism II strikes the perfect balance between relaxing and rousing, providing an unforgettable wedding and honeymoon experience - or just a great vacation.
Now I've got a soft spot for hedonism, but I understood where Berry was coming from.
Clients of Chrysalis, a Los Angeles based non-profit organization that helps over 2,300 economically disadvantaged and homeless individuals each year become self-sufficient through employment opportunities, received a day of makeovers and beauty tips from John Paul Mitchell Systems' Focus Salon, Hedonism Salon and Day Spa in Santa Monica CA.
Ifrah, an Arabic atheist with a hyperactive conscience, wants to draw her friends away from their drug-fuelled hedonism towards political action.
And of course, there's Chris himself--larger than life, and great of heart, with an appetite for hedonism unmatched in modern literature.
Spring's book also seems to get a bit off target by devoting so much attention to the story of how various Protestant organizations battled to impose a moral censorship over radio programs in the 1920s and 30s, and then television content in the 1950s; and to the story of how various puritan-derived Protestant organizations opposed the emerging consumer ideology because its promotion of hedonism threatened the virtues of thrift and a strong work ethnic.
He is, as Robinson suggests, primarily concerned with the hedonism of the gay movement--particularly the gay male circuit parties--at the expense of abandoning gay politics.
With this conceit of hedonism in full play, Suren helps Jansson with the heavy lifting.
We have to replace the pseudo-civilization of materialism, hedonism and consumerism, so crushing to the dignity of the person, by 'the civilization of love'.
Not everyone is entering into the spirit of consumer hedonism, however.
The bash at Glasgow's Corinthian on May 30 sees Miss Moneypenny's come to the city for a night of luxury and hedonism.